Implementing the Toyota Production System: Introduction


Toyota  Production System

A series of interviews with Professor Monden about the steps required to implement the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Yasuhiro Monden
Ph.D., Professor
Faculty of Business Administration
Mejiro University
(Professor Emeritus, Tsukuba University)

Prerequisites to Implementing the TPS:

Although the Toyota Production System (TPS) was originally developed by Toyota Motor Corporation it has now been adopted by many other companies, both in Japan and around the world. As the core element of the TPS, the Just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing system has had many books written about it however, there is more to successfully implementing JIT than simply studying the system itself. Through this series of interviews we will explain about the necessary steps needed to introduce a JIT process and thus implement the TPS.

Toyota production system techniques need to be implemented in the same order as the continuous improvement steps are taken, in other words, from means to goals. The necessary steps can be categorized as follows:

1. Introduction of 5S
The foundation for improvement of the shop floor is the 5S concept: Seiri (arrangement), Seiton (tidiness), Seiso (cleaning), Seiketsu (cleanliness), and Shitsuke (training).

Please click below for Parts One/Two of the Implementing the TPS interview.

Implementing the Toyota Production System (5S)

2. Introduction of one-piece production
Once the 5S concept has been successfully introduced then the fundamental prerequisites for JIT should be implemented: training of multi-functioned workers and layout of machinery in the process sequence.

3. Implementation of small lot size production
The next step is to improve the setup method in order to minimize lot size and standardise the operations to increase productivity

4. Establishing Production Smoothing
For key element for the introduction of the Kanban card system and the minimization of idle time for the workers, machinery and work-in-progress.

5. Implementation of the Kanban system.
The Kanban system manages the JIT production system and is supported by each of the previous steps: production smoothing, operation standardisation, setup time reduction, machinery layout and improvement activities.

The goal of the TPS is to increase profits by reducing costs through the elimination of waste. To achieve cost reduction, production must be able to react to the changing market conditions both quickly and flexibly. This is achieved through the concept of JIT, producing the necessary items in the necessary quantities at the necessary times. At Toyota the Kanban system was developed to manage the JIT however, the Kanban system itself requires numerous activities to be put in place for it to work. The aim of this series is to explain about these activities, the order they take place in and the interaction between them. It is our hope that by better understanding these concepts you will be able to more effectively implement TPS in your factory.

Professor Yasuhiro Monden Ph.D.
Professor Monden, in his Mejiro University faculty office.

Please click below for the Toyota Production System interview.

Toyota Production System: Professor Monden

Interview by Lean Manufacturing Japan editor Warren Harrod

Click below for a list of Professor Mondon's books that are available from

Prof. Monden Book Store of Toyota Production System